The Devil Rays (65-94) lost to the New York Yankees 3-1 on Thursday, their second straight defeat and 11th in their last 15.
Tampa Bay, owner of the worst record in baseball last season, has three fewer wins than Baltimore, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, which all have three games remaining.
The Devil Rays have already secured their ninth last-place finish in the AL East in their 10-year history.
“Teamwise, the record doesn’t show what we’ve accomplished this year,” Devil Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir told the team’s official Web site. “But there’s always next year, and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Carlos Pena homered in his second consecutive game Thursday, giving him 44. Pena is batting .320 (40-for-125) with 18 home runs and 41 RBIs in his last 37 games, and has 11 homers in September, tying the franchise record for home runs in a month set by Jonny Gomes in April 2006. Pena is 2-for-8 with two homers lifetime against Friday’s starter Dustin McGowan (11-10, 4.07 ERA), who looks to bounce back from a disappointing outing.
After throwing a five-hitter in a 6-1 win over Boston on Sept. 17, McGowan allowed six runs, six hits and walked a career-high six in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday. The right-hander had pitched at least eight innings in three of his previous four outings.
McGowan has been at his best at Rogers Centre, where he is 5-2 with a 2.04 ERA in his last eight starts. He is 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 12 home starts overall.
In three career starts against Tampa Bay—all this season—McGowan is 1-0 with a 3.66 ERA..
The Devil Rays counter with rookie Andy Sonnanstine (6-9, 5.80), who once again tries to win his fifth straight decision.
On Saturday, Sonnanstine allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss to Boston, but was not a factor in the decision.
The 24-year-old right-hander has not lost since Aug. 21, going 4-0 with a 3.89 ERA in his last six starts. He is also 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his last four road starts.
Sonnanstine has yet to record a decision in his two career starts against Toronto, allowing 10 runs in 13 2-3 innings.
The Blue Jays (81-78) lost to Baltimore 8-5 on Thursday, snapping a three-game winning streak. Toronto has still won seven of its last 10 overall, and eight of its last 11 at Rogers Centre.
John-Ford Griffin had two RBIs and scored twice on Thursday in his first start of the season.
Aaron Hill went 2-for-4 with a double on Thursday, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, tying his career high. Hill is batting .456 (26-for-57) with two home runs, seven doubles, five RBIs and 10 multihit games during his run, and hitting .321 (18-for-56) with a homer and six RBIs in 15 games against the Devil Rays this year.
The Blue Jays are 7-8 against the Devil Rays this season, and have lost six of the last eight meetings.